A miniatures games blog about Warhammer 40k, 15mm American Civil War (ACW), D&D, Classic Battletech, painting, terrain and anything else that rolls or shoots...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When You Can't Be Nerding... (A Top 5 List)

As you can probably tell, I've been fairly busy so far this year and haven't been able to put in as much time as I would like on the little plastic men and everything that goes with them.  Balancing a job, a relationship, a band and the other foibles of life can be time consuming to say the least.  We've all been there before.  For instance, last Sunday, the woman I love had made plans to go see Black Swan with her friend, thus leaving the house empty for a solid three hours.  "Perfect!" I thought, "This will give me time to finish up that Catachan squad for the battle next week and be done in time for the football game!"

Or so I thought.

Lesson for new home buyers: if you're planning on buying a hundred-year old house make sure the pipes are insulated.  Otherwise you can learn the hard way like myself, waking up on a chilly Sunday morning to find out you have no cold water on the second floor.  I guess I can appreciate the irony of having nothing but hot water in winter.  Regardless, I called the plumber and was promptly told I was at the end of a very long list of frozen pipe complaints.  They'd get to me between the hours of 4-7PM (eight hours away.)

Long story short, I had this irrational fear (probably stemming back to high school) of being caught playing with toy soldiers by a burly plumber so I kept the paints in the box and waited.

And waited.

Lo and behold, the plumber calls early telling me he's on the way!  I hang up the phone and WOOOSH the cold water starts running upstairs.  The pipes had unfrozen themselves and kickoff was in half an hour.  *sigh*

So, what's a nerd to do in these times to sate the nigh-unquenchable thirst for pint-sized tactical mayhem?

1.) Read the Rules -- I know, it's not necessarily the most entertaining option, but you'd actually be surprised what you can pick up when you revisit the rules for your preferred game.  If it's still fairly new to you, playing a few games and then going back has a way of clarifying certain rules that seemed confusing before you encountered them in a "real life" situation.  For the cheese-heads and lawyers in the crowd, it's also a great way to discover new loopholes.

Bonus: If you're bored at work and not adverse to breaking the law, download one of the many illicit .PDF's available online.  Displayed on your monitor, they can look a lot like official documents.  (NOTE: I AM NOT CONDONING STEALING ANYTHING OR SLACKING AT WORK, I'M JUST SAYING IT'S POSSIBLE)

2.) Start a Blog -- It's what I did and look at me now!

3.) Watch a Movie -- On the surface, this sounds fairly mundane but for the sci-fi inclined, there are a wealth of great (and awful) movies out there that you can use to cull ideas from.  I've been particularly into the Aliens series lately.  In fact, while waiting for said plumber to show up last weekend, I watched Aliens for, believe it or not, the first time in my life.  While not exactly a cinematic masterpiece, I thought the sets were very well done and it gave me some ideas for future terrain pieces.  What can I say?  I'm a sucker for a good corridor..

Space Hulk, anyone?

4.) Get Organized -- Nothing is worse than knowing you have to be at the store in half an hour for game time and you can't find that heavy weapon, rule book, dice bag, etc.  There's a well-worn phrase in the music scene that goes, "Pro Gear, Pro Attitude."  Most tournaments these days require all players to bring their own dice, copies of their own rules and, most importantly supply their own INTACT miniatures.  What's more, it can be really annoying to veterans (who know the rules inside and out) to have to stand around and watch while you, the n00b, flips through pages of rules to find the right stats.  I'm not saying this isn't jerky on their part, but it's how it is sometimes.

One method I've found that helps out is to take your army book to a copy machine and run-off the really important stuff like psychic powers, character profiles, etc.  I keep this info in a binder full of plastic pages that can be removed and kept close at hand come game time.  This can cut out the army book altogether.  In terms of miniatures, I've seen too many beautiful models emerge from storage (a shoebox) missing limbs and weapons.  Come on people!  We all spend way too much time and money on this hobby to not take care of the most important part.  Try going to Home Depot and buying a $6 roll of bubble wrap to line and layer those shoeboxes with.  Something is better than nothing!

Bonus: Games Workshop has made all the pertinent stats for each army available for download/printing here.

5.) Take a Break -- This is probably the last resort for most of us but it can also be the most beneficial.  With games like Warhammer, the sheer wealth of information and background available makes it very easy to get lost in and forget to do things like eat, shower, and communicate with someone NOT on a message board.  There's a big world out there!  If it's nice out, maybe go take a walk for a couple hours.  Call a friend and go get a beer.  Tell your SO you love them.  Anything that doesn't involve little plastic men.  Don't worry, they'll still be there when you get back!

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